This is not an Elon Musk video.
Panel Discussion from AIAA Space 2015, August 31, 2015
Commercial Crew's Path to Flight:
Kathryn Lueders, Program Manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Space Center (Moderator)
Hans Koenigsmann, Vice President, Mission Assurance, SpaceX
John Mulholland, Vice President & General Manager, Commercial Programs, Space Exploration, The Boeing Company
* 00:00 Kathryn Lueders: Introductory remarks
* 02:13 Kathryn Lueders: Commercial Crew Program summary
* 08:02 NASA video with crew cadre
* 10:44 Hans Koenigsmann: SpaceX involvement in Commercial Crew Program
* 22:12 John Mulholland: Boeing involvement in Commercial Crew Program
* 31:47 Kathryn Lueders: General remarks
* 32:37 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Reusability?
* 32:50 John Mulholland: A: Land landing; capsule certified for up to ten flights.
* 34:02 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Targeting eventual full reusability with propulsive land landing; general first stage reuse.
* 36:13 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Destinations beyond ISS?
* 36:47 John Mulholland: A: Imperative.
* 37:49 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Launch cost reduction will open new destinations.
* 38:36 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Relative investment and skin in the game?
* 39:14 John Mulholland: A: Important.
* 40:06 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Yes.
* 40:45 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Current issues?
* 41:03 John Mulholland: A: Structural test article, etc.
* 41:56 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Avionics, etc.
* 42:49 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Changing milestones?
* 43:25 John Mulholland: A: Scheduling thoughts.
* 45:07 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Safety is more important than meeting particular date.
* 46:13 Kathryn Lueders: Safety.
* 46:37 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Launch and reentry suits?
* 46:53 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Producing in house at SpaceX.
* 47:41 John Mulholland: A: Partnered with David Clark.
* 47:54 Kathryn Lueders: Q&A: Impact of budget on schedule? Confident of congressional support.
* 49:55 Kathryn Lueders: Q: How certification differs from Shuttle?
* 50:26 John Mulholland: A: Not so much.
* 52:00 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Crew compliment on Boeing crewed test flight?
* 52:36 John Mulholland: One NASA astronaut, one Boeing astronaut.
* 53:19 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Plans for single Dragon capsule for both cargo and crew flight?
* 53:35 Hans Koenigsmann: A: Eventually, in the long term.
* 53:49 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Could a Dragon dock with a Boeing capsule?
* 54:22 John Mulholland: A: No.
* 54:30 Kathryn Lueders: Q: Falcon 9 return to flight?
* 54:41 Hans Koenigsmann: A: In a couple months.
* 55:50 Kathryn Lueders: Closing remarks.
00:00 Kathryn Lueders: OK, why don't we get started? My name's Kathryn Lueders. I'm the Commercial Crew Program Manager. And here with me today is Hans Koenigsmann from SpaceX and John Mulholland from Boeing. I will give you a bit more of an introduction with them.
00:19 Kathryn Lueders: First I wanted to let you know about the Commercial Crew Program. The Commercial Crew Program is a new program for NASA where we are working to certify commercial space transportation capabilities to be able to safely and reliably fly our crew, NASA crew, to the International Space Station. And so I'm very pleased to have up here on the panel with me Hans Koenigsmann who is the VP for mission assurance for SpaceX. I don't think people realize this, but in the SpaceX culture they keep track of the number of employees, and I think, Hans, you're number four, which means he's been there from the very beginning.
01:09 Hans Koenigsmann: That's correct, yes.
01:11 Kathryn Lueders: So, he was just telling me today that he's had the honor of working for Elon for over thirteen years. And so, Hans, we're glad to see you sitting here today, and you've been supporting, obviously, the development of the new launch capabilities and the cargo transportation and now the crew transportation to the International Space Station.
01:33 Kathryn Lueders: In addition we have John Mulholland from Boeing. John is the VP and Program for Commercial Space for Boeing. And John and I actually used to work together at White Sands. I can probably say that I worked for John for four years and am glad to have survived that location, and there may be a few -- I won't tell too many stories today, but I'm pleased that John is now leading the Boeing team that is also working to deliver our new crew transportation systems to the International Space Station.
2:13 Kathryn Lueders: So let me jump in with a few slides, letting you guys know where we are from a commercial crew program standpoint, and then really the point of today is for both of these gentlemen to be letting you know what they're doing to deliver these new capabilities that are vital to NASA.
2:36 [Slide: Commercial Crew Benefits] Kathryn Lueders: Commercial Crew Program is a little bit different program. Like the folks Robert had explain in the opening executive session this morning, we are an integral part of the overall NASA strategy. We're working to really hand over transportation of our crew members to the commercial industry so that NASA can be focused on really making the exploration missions a reality. But one of the key aspects, and really, both of these companies have really enabled us to fulfill one of our goals which is cost effectiveness. And so both of these companies have come in with a cost effective and reliable and safe crew transportation capability. And really what that allows us to do is to increase our focus on science on the International Space Station. I don't think people realize this, but when these folks are flying their vehicles, we'll be able to fly not just the current three crew members that we fly on Soyuz, but also be able to fly an additional crew member, which will enable us to double the amount of crew time that we allocate to science on the International Space Station. So this is a critical aspect of the crew transportation capabilities that both Boeing and SpaceX will be bringing to NASA. The other key thing is that we are returning the transportation of our crew members to U.S. industry, and so you can see at the bottom there just how much of the U.S. is involved in providing these crew transportation capabilities. And so it is not just one place. The capabilities are really coming out of over thirty-five states and three hundred fifty plus companies that are contributing to returning the U.S. to the job of flying our crew.
04:46 [Slide: Working Off The Earth for Commercial Crew] Kathryn Lueders: Within NASA we've been working hard to get ready for the commercial crew vehicles that will be delivering our crew members. On on-orbit station, recently we relocated our pressurized --- the PMM -- the relocation from Unit to Tranquility. There's been numerous spacewalks. There's been over nineteen hours of EVA time. We've had to remap and layout cabling, four antennas, three laser reflectors, and more and more reconfiguration to come. Coming up are us installing the docking adapters and installing new communication systems that will be then the key links to these new crew transportation capabilities.
05:39 [Slide: Working On The Earth for Commercial Crew] Kathryn Lueders: One of the key things in the Commercial Crew Program is us really working with these companies. And so, through our working relationship with them and following along with what they are doing and ensuring that they're meeting our critical safety requirements, we are then able to certify their systems to be able to then fly our crew members. We also are working now towards not only understanding how they are planning on meeting our certification requirements, but we are also in the process of laying the foundation of the post-certification missions that will be coming up. So we've already ordered one post-certification mission from Boeing. We're in the process of ordering the first certification missions from SpaceX. And because of the lead-time that Boeing has, we'll be in the process of looking at the second missions for both Boeing, and then, following because of the lead-times, the second missions for SpaceX. So not only are we working toward certifications and the demo missions that these providers have, we are also starting to lay the groundwork for the service and the crew rotation missions that they will be providing us and the International Space Station. In addition, what's really critical with the Commercial Crew Program, is we not only have partnerships with our industry providers, but we have key partnerships with the FAA, with the NTSB. We work with the Air Force on their certification tactics, and we obviously work within NASA with the other key NASA programs like the Launch Service Program and obviously the International Space Station Program.
07:27 [Slide: Working On The Earth for Commercial Crew (2)] Kathryn Lueders: One of the key things that we just recently did was NASA actually named what we are calling our crew cadre. And these four folks, Doug and Eric and Bob and Suni, are the four crew members out of which we will pick and assign the crew allocations for the Boeing crew test mission and the SpaceX crew test mission. So what's really critical is now you can start seeing the faces of the crew members that these companies will be flying on their crewed test missions.
08:02 [Video: Commercial Crew Program] Sunni Williams: We've come to this program with different backgrounds and different experiences. Doug Hurley: We have a chance to build upon a new launch capability for America. Eric Boe: We are part of a partnership, and part of the partnership to have different abilities and so the United States having access is extremely important to the effort. Bob Behnken: One of the things that really gave us the opportunity to be ready for this is all those systems on the Space Station or on the Space Shuttle that we had to learn in order to be prepared for a space flight. So it really has set us up for a mindset of learning new things and being ready for whatever comes at us. Doug Hurley: We have a huge team here at NASA as well as the great teams at SpaceX and Boeing that we will work with to try to make this vehicle as safe as possible. Bob Behnken: Building that partnership, that relationship, where we are shoulder to shoulder with these companies as the build this vehicle is really going to be how we're instrumental in making sure the vehicles are ready for the first flights when the time comes. Eric Boe: I'm honored to get the opportunity to participate with this new group and to work with the team to get us on to this next era in spaceflight. Sunni Williams: I remember when I launched from Kennedy the first time on a U.S. Space Shuttle, and it was pretty amazing, so I can only imagine what it is going to be like after this long period of time to get back on a spacecraft at Kennedy and have all family and friends and people from all over the country watching. That's going to be pretty special. And so we'll bring that back home to everybody here. It'll be a pretty exciting moment.
10:07 Kathryn Lueders: So, as you can see, we are getting pretty excited, because, like I tell my team, we right now today are getting ready for the missions we will be doing with these companies tomorrow. And so, as you can see from the video, the crew is getting excited about flying on these vehicles, and we're very excited to finally be able to, once again, fly our crew from U.S. soil.
10:33 Kathryn Lueders: And so, right now Hans, I'm going to start with you and allow you to let some folks know some of the progress that you within SpaceX have been making.
10:44 Hans Koenigsmann: Alright, thank you very much Kathy. I'm really delighted to be here. And just in general, it's incredibly exciting to work on Crew Dragon and in general Commercial Crew. I do have a couple slides.
11:07 [Slide: SpaceX Overview] Hans Koenigsmann: Just in general, a little overview about SpaceX. We have been founded with human spaceflight in mind and with the really long term goal to make life multi-planetary and we are thinking primarily about Mars on that. We design rockets and spacecraft. The most known one is Falcon 9 on the left side and then we also have Falcon Heavy in work. In this case the Dragon spacecraft is on top of Falcon 9 to be launched to the ISS. Always an exciting mission. One of the things we are also pushing very hard is reusability. We believe that you should reuse spacecraft as much as you possibly can, and so we're trying to land first stages. That is something you can see on the right side of, where -- I think this is CRS-6 -- is trying to land on the drone ship. We have sixty missions on the manifest right now. SpaceX has grown over the years. I joined SpaceX thirteen years ago. We were really small at the time and now we are four thousand employees at eight different locations. The primary location is Hawthorn, here in the South Bay, right next to the Hawthorn Airport. Then there are, of course, the launch sites in Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg, and there is also the test site back in Texas at McGregor. In general, we think our core values are basically safety, reliability, reusability, and all around innovation. That's what we stand for.
12:57 [Slide: Falcon 9 Missions] Hans Koenigsmann: Falcon 9 missions. Prior to CRS-7 flight, there were eighteen successful missions in a row on Falcon 9, and thirteen of those were on the version that we call the 1.1 version. We continue to learn and we continue to apply those lessons, and then we improve the launch vehicle and, the same is true to some extent to Dragon. We have one hundred and eighty engines flown today. Those engines are built in America. They're built right here in Hawthorn, they're tested in McGregor in Texas, turned around, integrated back in what we call the octoweb, the thrust frame on the vehicle, and then sent back to Texas again and test fired again, and then sent off to the launch site. So that's a lot of test firing and a lot of test in general in our strategy and that is part of how we push reliability. We will fly another fifty times between now and before we do the first human flight on the Crew Dragon. And down there is just a whole list of vehicles that we flew. I was Launch Chief Engineer for the majority of those, probably for all except two or three
14:28 [Slide: Dragon Missions] Hans Koenigsmann: Dragon missions. Equally, there's eight successful Dragon flights. Basically, eight more planned over the next two years. I'm always amazed how you come from a company that has a phone line and four cubicles and then ten years later you start your Dragon vehicle to the ISS and the next flight, or the next after that, you actually dock on the ISS. That's just incredible. And then, of course, the next logical step, in my opinion, is putting crew in. If you look at the very first Dragon, there on the left side, it had a window. That window was more statement than anything else. The cargo inside did not really need a window. It was more showing that, yes, we do want fly humans. This is what we wanted to do from the get-go.
15:23 [Slide: Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Overview] Hans Koenigsmann: The Commercial Crew, overall, has a couple more elements. It includes the Crew Dragon and includes Falcon 9, but it also includes the ground launch system, which is basically the launch site. In this case it is going to be LC-39A, the old Shuttle pad, used to be the old Apollo pad. Heavily converted, obviously, to what we need for Falcon 9. And then, of course, there is also the whole operational element which includes mission control, connection to JSC, and a lot more infrastructure that is not really that visible as the launch system, but equally important. Again, we can carry up to seven crew members, or four to five plus cargo, and those cargo can be power if needed. Dragon has an escape system that is really unique, too. It used what's called the SuperDraco thruster to push the vehicle away from Falcon 9 in case something may happen to Falcon 9. And I'm going to show you, in a second, the video of the pad abort we had earlier this year in May. There's a couple of advantages on using this type of abort system, because if you don't use the abort system you can actually use it to do a propulsive landing. That is what we are now testing and exploring. However, the Crew Dragon will initially land on a parachute and in the water. Very traditionally, very safe. They way most human flight spacecraft have done this in the past. And last, not least, Dragon is capable of staying 210 days up on the ISS before it has to return back to Earth. Flights upcoming. We have a demo flight to the ISS without crew coming up in the end of '16ish, we have an in-flight abort test after that, and then we have a demo flight 2 to the ISS, this time with crew, after those two first flights. Overall goal, restore the U.S. crew carrying capability by 2017.
18:08 [Video: Pad Abort Test Success -- May 2015] [Koenigsmann's comments are unintelligible during the video.]
20:18 Hans Koenigsmann: What we learned from the test was incredible and we're ready to take the next step there and continue the Crew Dragon development.
20:34 [Slide: Crew Dragon Summary] Hans Koenigsmann: A lot of experience also on Cargo Dragon goes to Crew Dragon. It helps if you fly multiple time a year to the Station. You learn a lot about operations. You learn a lot about fault tolerance. What's important, what can go wrong, and which parts you can trust. How do you put parts together so that they are actually truly redundant. And that's all stuff you learn when you do continuous missions to the station. Again I mentioned flying up to seven crew members. There's going to be less crew members, obviously, in the beginning. We talked about propulsive land. One thing that I haven't mentioned is we're working also on precision reentry guidance. And the idea is, if you do land on land, then obviously you want to land on the right spot and not miles left or right. On the water landing, it's not quite that important. You just make sure that all boats are outside within certain miles. You minimize mechanisms and any deployment. That increases reliability and therefore safety too. And then again, we work very hard on reusability. 90% of the capsule, basically, is reusable.
22:00 Hans Koenigsmann: That is all I had? Yes. Alright.
22:05 Kathryn Lueders: That you Hans. John, you want to share all the work that you guys have been doing?
22:12 John Mulholland: Absolutely. Thanks. And Hans, congratulations on all the work you guys have done to date. Kathy, great partnership with NASA and we appreciate everything you guys have helped us be able to accomplish. It's a great partnership.
22:34 [Video: CST-100 promo]
24:16 John Mulholland: It's amazing, the stuff that we're able to do. I don't think that there's any industry that builds more passion in the workforce than human spaceflight. It's just fun to work on, almost every day. The key, for us, is we look to the evolution of the commercial human space market, obviously as partnership with the destination. Transportation capability is not really required unless you have a destination and we continue to work with partners, like Bigelow Aerospace and other potential users.
24:50 [Slide: Low-Earth Orbit Destinations] John Mulholland: But really, the foundation of this market, at least for the next decade, is going to be NASA and the International Space Station. Really is a win-win with NASA. As Kathy mentioned, it allows a larger crew size, a lot more focus on science, and the ability to get the return on ISS as we look to extend that to 2028 or beyond.
25:15 [Slide: CST-100 Concept of Operations] John Mulholland: From a concept of operations, we have taken over with partnership with Space Florida the old Orbiter Processing Facility, and so we're currently doing manufacturing in that facility. We are using the Atlas-V launch vehicle. So all of the production and launch will be down at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We have designed our capsule to be capable of launching on other launch vehicles in that class, but the Atlas V was a natural choice for us, at least for our early missions, because of its unparalleled technical and schedule reliability. Fifty-five launches to date, all with 100% success. Nominally, we'll do a flight day one rendezvous. We're certified to stay up on the ISS for up to six months. When it's time to come home we'll separate from the ISS, do a de-orbit maneuver, and come down through a combination of parachutes and airbags at one of five landing sites in the western part of the United States.
26:18 [Slide: Commercial Crew & Cargo Processing Facility] John Mulholland: A lot of work right now moving from spacecraft design to production and integrated qualification testing. In the top, on the left and the right, we're right in the middle of building up our structural test article. So the first piece of integrated, fully flight designed hardware is coming together. That will be shipped out to California, and we'll do our structural testing at the Huntington Beach facility here in the Los Angeles area staring in early spring. So pretty exciting to see the real hardware come together. We'll start getting some of our big bone pieces for the structure for the qualification test vehicle. They'll be coming in in December / January time frame. We'll have feeder line work going on, obviously, before that. And we'll deliver the qual-test vehicle out to the El Segundo facility in early May of this year as we kick off that qual-test vehicle summary. So, pretty exciting. As important as some of this structural work, we've got a great compliment of aerospace industry leaders that have partnered with us that right now are in various phases of development test finalization and qualification test. We've already been through several qualification tests on some of our components, so we're starting to see a lot of momentum picking up, as we get to flight design hardware delivery. On the bottom, as we continue to mature and outfit the old Orbiter Processing Facility. Right now we've got one of the sections of the old OPF-3, the old engine shop, that is currently producing the structural test article and service module. We'll be finished with the high bay modernization in December of this year. Then we'll take over the buildup of the spacecraft going forward. So, a lot of work out at Kennedy Space Center, with hardware and with our industry teammates across the country.
28:30 [Slide: Launch Accommodations] John Mulholland: Launch Accommodations. I did mention the selection of ULA as our launch vehicle. A lot of work going on to outfit LC-41 to be able to handle crew launches. Obviously, for cargo launches you don't need a crew access tower. For crew you do. With ULA we partnered on a design for that tower. And to be able to design, build, and then install it in between their already busy manifest, we actually built up the seven big sections, and you can see those big sections of the crew access tower, about a mile away from LC-41. They've laid the three hundred yards of concrete at LC-41 to be able to handle that crew access tower, and those pieces will start getting erected here within the next several weeks, in between their launch manifest. So a lot of work going on getting ready at both the spacecraft side and on the facility side.
29:33 [Slide: Program Milestones] John Mulholland: From a milestone standpoing, I did mention that we will be nominally landing on land, through a combination of parachutes and airbags, but with an ascent abort, if one were required, you'd obviously have to ditch into the water, and so our vehicle will be also certified to go into the water, and we just finished a pretty aggressive campaign out at the Langley Research Center for water drops. We've had a number of wind tunnel test already, just going through that validation phase of our design. And we've got about four more wind tunnel tests coming up that will finish that entire campaign. And over on the right hand side you can see the build up, again, of that structural test article in their facility on the Kennedy Space Center.
30:21 [Slide: What's Next?] John Mulholland: Looking ahead, I did mention the crew access tower and the erection that will be continuing on there. Our qualification series for our parachute will take abut ten more additional parachute drops, so we'll be going through the qualification on those, and obviously the rest of the hardware. We continue hot fire tests so we can certify the entire propulsion system. We'll be building up a full flight version of our service module and sending that out to White Sands for an integrated propulsion qualification test series. Our QTV, or qual-test vehicle I mentioned, will be ready and first power-on in may of next year. And then immediately following that we'll be in production of the uncrewed and crewed test capsules. So, pretty exciting time. And then 2017, we'll transition from the qualification of hardware and system buildup to that flight validation. So we'll have our pad abort test, uncrewed flight test, crewed flight test, and then the first crewed services flight all in 2017. So, a lot of momentum, a lot of energy, and a lot of product coming together. It's pretty exciting. And I think that's all I have. Thank you.
31:47 Kathryn Lueders: I think that the thing that's really cool about this is how much hardware you both were showing. If we're all three back here in another year, you're going to be seeing all the vehicles that you guys are getting ready for your demo missions and it's going to be phenomenal to show the progress that they continue to make as we're doing our mission countdown as we get ready for crew transportation services. Tremendous effort by both of these companies.
32:17 Kathryn Lueders: So, we're going to get into some questions. Unfortunately, I'm noticing that the largest number of questions kind of tend to be for me. [Laughs.] Unless you guys want to talk about my funding or anything else like that. So let me start off with a couple for you guys.
32:37 Kathryn Lueders: Why don't each of you talk about reusability and what that means for your particular crew transportation strategy? Maybe John, I can start with you.
32:50 John Mulholland: Absolutely. Incredibly important from a spacecraft standpoint. But we've got a mixture of expendable and reusability. So our spacecraft will be two pieces, the crew module itself, the pressurized capsule for crew, that will be certified for reuse up to ten times. And really, what allowed us to reuse that from a design standpoint is our baseline of coming down on the land landing, through the parachutes and airbags. You know the baseline, obviously, if you ditch into the water would not be reusability, just because of the uncertainty on loads. So the capsule will be reused up to ten times, which is really important from a business case standpoint to try and drive the cost as low as reasonable. But the service module with the propulsion system will be expendable, and so we'll be building a new one of those every flight, just because of the difficulty and the size of the capsule that would be required to be bring all of that home each. It just made more sense from a business standpoint to separate those out.
34:02 Hans Koenigsmann: On the Dragon side we are targeting full reusability, long term, obviously with propulsive land landing. The trunk is not reusable, but the trunk also contains as little hardware as is possible. It is primarily, in the case of an abort, a passive stabilization. It aerodynamically stabilizes us. You could see in the pad abort video, you saw how it basically started tumbling the moment you deploy the trunk. And then also the trunk has solar power on the surface to help Dragon's power budget. So on Dragon side, as much as possible, the full propulsive element is all inside the vehicle, batteries are all inside the Dragon vehicle. But one important thing is not to stop there but either go beyond that and look at your first stage. And that is something that we've been trying, as far as I can recall, ever since beginning Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, of course, trying to get the first stage back as a first step. It's a very difficult task and we've gotten pretty close a couple times so far, so I'm convinced that we will be able to recover the first stage fully and basically inspect it turn it around. Our vision is really going to an airplane like operation, understanding that airplanes and rockets are obviously quite different, but trying to push rocket or launch technology more closer towards an airplane type operation and trying to avoid, you know, just imagine you would throw this airplane away every time you cross the country. It would just be a little bit more expensive than it already is. And so that's our principle. Reuse as much as we can as often as we can. A lot of that is something we need to find out in the next couple months. But we are determined to push reusability as hard as we can.
36:13 Kathryn Lueders: Our number one question is, how extensible is Commercial Crew to destinations beyond the ISS? So I think that what the question is getting at is, is this model, from your perspective, how applicable do you think this model could be for other programs, and use from an exploration perspective? So, it look like John, you're thinking already, so I'll give Hans a few more minutes.
36:47 John Mulholland: Absolutely. I mean, I think it's imperative that we expand the business space beyond NASA, right, because Space Station will have a finite life, right. NASA is looking to go beyond low Earth orbit, through a combination of Orion and other platforms, as they move forward on their way to Mars. So it is going to be, I think, incredibly important for us to help that market evolve. There are a lot of countries out there that are currently not part of the International Space Station partnership. And so there's a lot of room there, a lot of interest worldwide to become a spacefaring nation. So I think there's a lot of capability there. Hans has talked some about trying to drive the cost of a launch down lower. And as we see that happen with SpaceX and other launch vehicle providers, I think that's really going to be a market enabler for other destinations and other users.
37:49 Hans Koenigsmann: Totally right. As soon as you get the launch costs down to a reasonable level, you can get more into Earth orbit, you can put it together there, and you can send, obviously, larger ships towards Mars. It's no question SpaceX wants to go to Mars. Elon said that several times and I think the whole company behind him and working very hard on that. In terms of Crew Dragon, the way I see that is we will learn how to make really good crew vehicles on Crew Dragon and then we will take the next step from there, so I think that it's definitely on the way to Mars for us.
38:36 Kathryn Lueders: So there's been a lot of questions about investment, and about relative investment from a corporate standpoint. I don't know if either one of you would be willing to kind of talk about, under this model your investment strategies and how they have played into the shared risk with the government.
39:00 Hans Koenigsmann: [Eyes wide.] I'm an engineer.
39:03 Kathryn Lueders: OK. [Laughter.] [Pats Koenigsmann's shoulder.] John?
39:14 John Mulholland: I'm with Hans. [Laughter.] You know, it is important, right? This is NASA's, from a crew transportation system, this is NASA's first entrance into a fixed price development program, successfully worked on cargo. And so now they're moving it into crew. That, in and of itself, I think, pushes more risk to industry, right? And we've been able to work very closely with NASA to do it. It was always important for NASA that we have a significant amount investment, and skin in the game, from their standpoint, and so we have absolutely stepped up to that. You know, the level of that, I don't think anyone from our company would be comfortable with me publicly stating. But there has been significant risk sharing and cost sharing to make this program successful.
40:06 Hans Koenigsmann: Just a followup on my side, so, SpaceX was founded with basically private capital, and there is significant amount of non-government funding. Putting skin in the game is, I think, the key, really the key thing, and part of that is also having fixed, firm price contracts, because that really forces you to be competitive, to do great work from the get-go, and this is your incentive to actually finish your job safely and reliable in the end.
40:45 Kathryn Lueders: Yeah, they are giving us some tough questions, so. [Laughs.] So what are some of the current issues you're facing and what are the near-term obstacles that you see over this next year? John?
41:03 John Mulholland: We're working, obviously, really hard right now, as I mentioned, to get into structural test article and qual-test vehicle testing. As with any large, complex, integrated qualification test campaign, you're going to have discoveries. And so it's trying to make sure that we maintain really close communication with all of our industry providers and partners so that we stay completely in sync. We're trying to drive margin into the schedule so that we make sure we have the ability to learn from these tests without significant interruption to our test schedule. So it's mainly about communication with the entire Commercial Crew team and trying to make sure that you have the right test, but you have the capability to learn without a big perturbation.
41:56 Hans Koenigsmann: We just finished avionics test pad simulations. We continue to do simulations for the full flight. We're in the midst of propulsion module testing which will close out pretty quickly. There is also docking adapter test ongoing on. So there are a lot of things, as John said, at the same times, and a lot of things in the air that we need to balance. And of course, you do learn things when you do tests, and then you go around and improve and make it better for the next go around. So things that can happen are like test results that aren't quite what you expect, although so far things are looking really great on our side in terms of schedule and technical readiness.
42:49 Kathryn Lueders: So there's a question about, with milestones being altered and delayed, why should we be confident you can still be ready by 2017, even with full funding? So, I think maybe you can talk about the progress that you guys have been making from a milestone perspective, and I think the other thing is that going and working through demo missions is obviously a big challenge, doing the multiple missions in that one particular year. John, I don't know if you want to talk any about that, or?
43:25 John Mulholland: Well absolutely. I think that with any complex development program, there will be learning that goes along the way. The biggest adjustments that we've had on the schedule, when we first proposed, we had assumed a start date of July 1st. As NASA went through the proposal evaluation period, obviously, that decision wasn't made until mid September, and then we had a little perturbation with the protest period. So we kind of got off to a little bit slower start than we expected, and so we had to basically iron bar that schedule for that time loss. And then as we moved through with that rebaseline we've had some learning. We've adjusted some of our milestones to be more efficient as we look forward and to get more learning. But the team has largely produced, per plan. We're pretty close, and what's really important now and gives us a lot more confidence looking forward on the schedule is we're actually now producing those integrated qualification test vehicles. So it is coming together. The design is closing and you're in manufacturing. And so, obviously, the focus now is making sure that we're doing all of the right testing and design validation so that we don't have big discoveries in those integrated tests. Because that would be the next risk of a potential schedule move, is big discoveries in those tests.
45:07 Hans Koenigsmann: I guess if you ever did a big project that are related to launch, you would know that in the end you need to slow down a little bit and actually look at your system again, because I think the question is actually, 'Is this safe?', and 'Is this reliable?', and not necessarily, 'Is this on time and at the right date?' I think at a certain point in time, and you've got the vehicle together, you've started testing it, then you need to actually step back a little bit and look at it and say, 'Is this all safe? Did I do all the right steps to make the most reliable vehicle? Does the redundancy work? Have you thought everything through?' And these are big systems. These are really complicated systems and in the past it has always been that those systems slip a little bit in time. I think, like John said, on our side, we've also been pretty good so far. We've got the pad abort test off. That obviously is a major, major milestone, too. But I really think that focus should rather be safety and reliability and not necessarily a milestone schedule.
46:13 Kathryn Lueders: Yeah, and I think that if we're not flying safely, we're not meeting our overall goal. The goal is really to fly when it's the right time, and obviously NASA will be working with both of these companies to make sure that we understand when that is and so that we can time it so that we're flying, [turns head toward other panelists] that you're flying our crew when you can do it safely.
46:37 Kathryn Lueders: So there's a question about each of your plans for launch and reentry suits, or what your strategy is for supplying the suits. Do you guys want to talk briefly about that?
46:53 Hans Koenigsmann: Alright. I actually don't know the details, but I do know that there are suits being made at SpaceX. There is a suit qualification. I think that is next year, but I don't really know, exactly. And our goal is to produce those suits as an integrated system, together with Dragon, basically, so that they fit together. You can make sure that if something fails on Dragon you can recover by having the right suit on there. And then also, this goes a little bit in line with what we like to do at SpaceX. If there's something critical, then we just start working on it early, and work it very hard so that at the end we have the ability to get the suit at our own price and at our own schedule.
47:41 John Mulholland: We've partnered with David Clark. So they're going to be working with us on the design of the suit. Again, kind of that same philosophy of trying to bring the best of industry together.
47:54 Kathryn Lueders: So there is a question about, there's been obviously a lot of discussion about the Commercial Crew budget. One thing I want to say is, NASA and the agency has been working diligently for us to be able to get our commercial crew budget. I think the nice thing about a fixed price contract is that we can absolutely show the funding requirements that both of you provided us during the proposal period that showed what we needed to fund the contract with to make sure that you're making the progress you need to make. That's the nice thing about a fixed price contract. NASA actually has the information that they need to understand what funding the contractors need to be able to meet their schedule needs. When we understand what the actual budget is then we will be working with our partners to make sure that we then work to mitigate any impacts that any, if there is a reduction in the budget, that we mitigate that, because we absolutely, from a NASA perspective, understand the criticality of us being able to fly the NASA crew members to the International Space Station to be able to really support the International Space Station's mission, and that time frame is very clear. We know when we have the ability to buy seats, and when we don't. And our schedule is laid out so that we feel like we are giving both these companies the prudent time to be able to demonstrate and safely fly their vehicles. So we're confident that our congressional support will understand that and will work forward to providing us that capability.
49:55 Kathryn Lueders: How is certification of these commercial vehicles kind of different from the Shuttle? So, I think John, you had worked on Orbiter. I know that NASA, as a goal, our goal is to have the certification be different. I guess I'd like to hear your perspective on whether it is different, or whether we've kind of accomplished our goal or not. So, maybe you can say a few words.
50:26 John Mulholland: I think beyond the certification of the hardware, because that's a well defined activity. I mean, we've had great efficiency in the development cycle, more so than we've had in past human spaceflight programs. The real key is decision velocity and decision stability. And driving to good requirements up front that NASA has that minimizes the change. That really drives a lot of problems into, especially fixed price programs. And having the right people get together quickly and make the design decisions necessary to move forward. And then have those decisions be stable. That's really been the big difference. When we look at the integrity of the hardware and the certification of the hardware, you don't see big differences. You don't see really any differences in the validation methodology that we used on orbiter, that we use in the commercial airplane industry. Because there really you are focused on making sure you can verify all of performance requirements of the hardware and do it safely. You can't cut corners in that activity. And so there isn't a difference between the certification philosophy, or activity I would say, between this and other human spaceflight missions.
52:00 Kathryn Lueders: Can each of you talk about what your strategy is for crew compliment on your first crewed test mission? And it would be interesting to hear why you picked to compliment the way you did. So, Hans is looking at me like ... I know. [Laughs.] So, maybe John, you can talk about that, because SpaceX is actually flying two NASA crew members. So I think your option is a little bit different, John. So why did Boeing go with the crew compliment it did?
52:36 John Mulholland: Absolutely. So for the crewed test flight, our plan right now is to fly a Boeing astronaut with a NASA astronaut. And it's just that full buy-in and involvement in the design. I think it was important for us to step up and, with crew being completely involved in the design and us part of that fist test flight. Obviously, as we move from the crewed test flight to the service flights, it will be more of that rental car model with NASA as the crew, but for the first test flight we just wanted to have a combination.
53:13 Kathryn Lueders: And Hans, I'm surprised that Garrett didn't try to talk you guys in to letting him fly, no?
53:17 Hans Koenigsmann: Yeah, I don't think he did, right?
53:19 Kathryn Lueders: [Laughs.] No. OK, I think just a couple more questions. So, Hans, is SpaceX planning to phase out the production of the cargo Dragon? Or will crew Dragon be modified to deliver cargo?
53:35 Hans Koenigsmann: There's going to be a mix between crew Dragon and cargo Dragon [unintelligible] transitional phrase, and then I guess our long term goal is to go back to one vehicle.
53:49 Kathryn Lueders: OK. The rest of these are really questions about compatibility. Can the crew dragon dock with the Boeing capsule? [Laughter.] That would be [laughs]. I don't think [unintelligible] have worked it out yet.
54:10 John Mulholland: We'll fight it out. [Laughs.]
54:13 Kathryn Lueders: Really, right now, I want to have both dock with the station. I think that would be number one. I kind of hope you guys aren't trying to figure out how to go meet and match up together.
54:22 John Mulholland: Yeah, we can work out a teaming arrangement. But no, you need the docking adapter to dock to.
54:30 Kathryn Lueders: Yeah, I'd think that would be pretty important to be able to do it. Hans, one last question. How soon can we expect to see return to flight?
54:41 Hans Koenigsmann: Yeah. So, we're in the process of return to flight. Basically, at this time, we are writing a report together. We will submit this report. It's going to be a couple months. Partly, this is a difficulty question because there still tests going on, so tests could show something that we have haven't expected. It's actually hard to schedule a return to flight activity, in general, because there's lots of unknowns that you start with, and then as you go on, you work your way through this and unknowns become knowns, and probable causes at the end of the day. So, my gut feeling is it's going to be, we have end of August, mid October, maybe two to three months in this time frame, depending a little bit on how this all works out and how the tests, also the tests on the next flight unit, how they work out, basically.
55:50 Kathryn Lueders: OK, now I think we now have ten seconds left, so want just to say, thank you very much. I appreciate all the folks coming in and participating in the session. Hopefully it's been helpful to you. Like I said, over this next year pay attention because both of these companies are going to be moving out on delivering their new capabilities.